U2 Stars Explain Taymor’s Exit From Spider-Man

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June 14, 2011 | 7:40am EST

U2 stars Bono and The Edge have opened up about Julie Taymor’s exit from their Spider-Man musical, revealing the director was “exhausted” and “overwrought” and they didn’t think she would cope with an overhaul of the show.
Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, which features a score by the Irish rockers, opened for previews on Broadway last year, but was marred by delays, spiralling costs, onset accidents and cast changes as producers battled to bring the curtain up.

Director Taymor exited the production earlier this year shortly before it was closed for a major overhaul, and she is now battling producers over her royalty payments from the show.

Bono and The Edge have now spoken candidly about Taymor’s exit, revealing she was worn down by months of problems and they didn’t think she would be able to join in a massive restructuring process, which the stars called ‘Plan X’.

The Edge tells the New York Times, “When Plan X was presented, she said: ‘That could never be achieved in a three-week period. You’d need months to do that, and it probably won’t work anyway…’ Julie was clearly exhausted, overwrought… We were tip-toeing around her, and I think that probably meant that people were careful in what they said or told her. I certainly didn’t feel I could be 100 per cent frank with Julie, and that was because I felt she was carrying so much of the weight.”

While Bono is convinced they made a mistake in opening the show for previews when it wasn’t ready for audiences, adding: “Looking back, we, through inexperience, had no sense of the implications of that decision. That the first time anyone saw a full run-through of the story, songs, staging, and show was the first night of previews. Can you imagine that? No one had seen the whole thing before everyone saw it… Julie was trying to wrestle with the logistics as well as the art, and that’s when I felt fairly impotent.”

The newly-revamped show is due to open officially on Tuesday night, and Bono insists he is finally happy with the production. He says, “The first time I loved Spider-Man was two and a half weeks ago… (But) even when I was really angry about its obtuse story and some of the awful readings of the music – even then I was still saying, it was kind of magical.”